Swagger and self-importance are common, often integral parts of the rap game. But did Jay Z take his ego a little too far when he posited that his "presence was charity" and compared himself to President Obama?
HOVA took offense during an interview with Rap Radar when the reporter brought up a critique concerning rappers and social responsibility that was posed by famed civil rights activist, Harry Belafonte, back in August of 2012.
At that time, Belafonte told the Hollywood Reporter:
"I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black."
Upon hearing the criticism (for what seemed to the first time) the "99 Problems" rapper appeared affronted and said, "I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am."
But he didn't stop there. He continued with, "Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough."
These comments aside, it should also be noted that the rapper and mogul is an outspoken voice in politics and issues of equality. Just last weekend he and Beyonce attended a rally for slain youth Trayvon Martin in NYC and were even heaped with praise by another civil rights activist, Rev. Al Sharpton.
Belafonte took to MSNBC yesterday to extend an invitation to formally meet with Jay Z and his first lady.
“I would hope with all my heart, that Jay Z not take personally what was said,” he said.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and Beyonce: I’m wide open, my heart is filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one to understand each other.”